Richard Sirianni is a Marine Corps veteran who adopted a companion, a pitbull named Buca, around seven years ago. But in 2015, Sirianni found himself jobless and struggling to cope with addiction and mental health issues.

“A lot of the drinking, the drugs, the PTSD- everything collapsed in on me at once,” Sirianni said.

Sirianni knew he needed help, but he had no where for Buca and his other pitbull to stay while he received treatment. That’s where the Kramer Foundation stepped in.

As we started doing a program for fostering for deployed soldiers that had no where (for their dogs),” Juli Lathrup of the Kramer Foundation said. “I also found out that veterans were not seeking treatment they needed because they had no place to put their dogs as well.”

Sirianni underwent months of treatment in Rochester. During that time, he was able to rest easy knowing his dogs were staying in a safe place. Not to mention, receiving training to improve their behavior to help Sirianni once his treatment ended.

Juli also brought the dogs up to Rochester to see Sirianni during his treatment.

“I was able to put in eight months of therapy for not only the addictions but also for the PTSD,” Siranni said. “And simultaneously I knew my dogs were in wonderful hands being with Juli.”

Without the help of Juli and the Kramer Foundation, Sirianni says he may not have ever gone through the potentially life saving process.

“Without somebody having my dogs, I can say I probably wouldn’t have gone,” Sirianni said. “And I may or not be alive today and if I was, it would be an ugly sight.”

Now, both Sirianni and Lathrup want veterans and active duty service members to know similar help is out there, whether it be through a group like the Kramer Foundation or not.

The two know how for some people, dogs can be a person’s only family. So they want others to know just how critical something as simple as taking care of a veteran’s dog can be.

“For the veterans, it’s one less thing they have to worry about,” Lathrup said. “So the success rate after treatment is greater when they don’t have all of those stresses hitting them as soon as they come out.”

For more information on the Kramer Foundation, click here.